One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verb[with object]North American
(of an actor) act (a part) in an insincere, sentimental, or melodramatic manner.‘just try it straight—don't hoke it up’
- ‘Whether studio pressure can be blamed I couldn't say, but Ford, for all his inventiveness and all his unbound talent, still manages to hoke it up with the best of them.’
- ‘The principals of The Wandering Scholar hoke it up, but the piece can take it.’
- ‘She has said that the cast was specifically asked to "hoke it up."’
- ‘That night they were fabulous, hoking it up and ‘yee-haw’ ing.’
Early 20th century: back-formation from hokum.
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